Can you enable a sidebar that shows thumbnails of pages
Is this a question or a request? If it’s a question - afaik there is no such thing.
If your intent is to get an idea on how the page will look when printing or to jump quickly to some page, you can temporarily alter the zoom level.
There is a slider at right of the bottom status bar. Move to 20% or lower and you will see several miniature pages on your screen. Scroll to the area of interest. Then restore zoom level to 100%.
This is not a thumbnail side panel, but this is the closest I think of.
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EDIT 2019-12-12 to answer question in the comment
You can(t use the reduced view to rearrange the pages (first because the reduced view is strictly equivalent to the normal-sized view).
Pages do not exist per se in Writer, contrary to DTP apps like Scribus or Quark XPress. In DTP, you create pages and fill them with blocks. There is no continuity between pages unless you chain blocks. Therefore, pages can be reordered without breaking the document structure.
In Writer or Word, you have a single text flow (or nearly). This flow is distributed over pages which are allocated as needed to hold the whole text plus generated contents TOC, indexes et al.).
There is no boundary object at end of page. The end of page condition is dynamically detected when text is laid out. Even a manually added page break does not create a boundary in the flow.
Supposing you could “move” a page, what would happen to the flow?
However, there is a solution to your question. In fact you are not interested in rearranging pages but document content. This content must be structured: chapter, sub-chapter and lower divisions. This structuring is conveyed through the use of Heading n paragraph styles (n=1 for chapter, 2 for sub-chapter, etc.). A Heading n-styled paragraph signals the start of a level-n part in your document up to the next Heading m with m <=n.
In the Navigator (
F5), section Headings allows you to manage your parts within this structure. There are buttons to promote or demote the selected part (change its level) or to move the parts up and down (you can also drag and drop). When moving, the dependent parts (those with m>n and the non-Heading n paragraphs) are moved altogether as a single block.
This is much better than rearranging pages because you operate at a significant semantic level within your document.
My next question is can you rearrange the order of pages by touching one and sliding to another location?
I’m quite surprised that Writer doesn’t have an option for navigation by thumbnails. PDF viewers have this option, it’s clearly something that a lot of people find useful. Manually changing the view down to 20%, clicking on a page and then manually changing it back 100% is obviously not as spontaneous as just clicking on the thumbnail of the page you want to read or edit.
When one is creating a large structured document, it might be that the headings and subheadigs are all there, but there are blanks left for the actual text, or placeholders for graphics, or there may be temporary highlighting colour-coding used ot signify early or late drafts text, or near-finished text. Suppose that you are writing a novel and have first drafts in red, second drafts highlighted in orange, running through the spectrum until blue or purple is final text. You want to see an overview of how the book is progressing as different blocks of colour, and to instantly click on a page to see it.
… and the fact that the most extreme zoom out is 20% is also unnecessarily restrictive. if you’re writing a lengthy document or a book, you may want to see a visual overview of the entire thing, so you can screenshot it and scribble notes as a project management exercise. But to see the whole book can sometimes require zooming to 10% or 5%. So it’s an unnecessary annoyance that Writer rejects values below 20%. Who chose to enforce that particular value? If you’re specifying zoom in 1% steps, why not just go all the way down to 1%?
PDF viewers do not edit the document which is considered a static immutable object. In addition a PDF file is a collection of pages, i.e. the file is already split into pages; it is thus really inexpensive to display thumbnails which are reduced view of a page.
As an author, are you really able to focus equally well your attention on a 100-page sequence? I can’t. Do your books contain an argumentation developing seamlessly over 100 pages? If so, IMHO, there is something faulty in this. You’re going to bore your readers. An argumentation needs to be neatly structured. Even if the main point (aka. the topic of the book) extents over 100 pages, this is broken into sub-points, each with its much shorter argument, the collection of which climaxing in a synthesis from which you draw a conclusion and close the argumentation. Then a 10-15 page view is enough for me.
The 20% floor is rather arbitrary. You’re free to download the source and patch this limit.
As far as moving pages in the document with thumbnails, I don’t see how that would be a huge problem. The shown page corresponds to a set of text and formatting. Simply copy the text, and move it to another location, along with the formatting. If there is running formatting that is different in the new location, push new formatting at start, then pop old formatting at end. Or, simply move it as text with only embedded formatting, and any running formatting is inherited from the new location.
Everything after the beginning of the old place would have to be reformatted to achieve proper page breaks and possibly line breaks. That happens every time you change something anyway.
@pbfoobar: you have formatting issues after pasting/moving text to a new location only if you direct format your document. This does not happen with full styling, i.e. also using character styles.
There is another integrated way of moving whole blocks of text. This supposes that your document is structured through the use of Heading n paragraph styles to mark headings, thus creating a “chapter” architecture. The Navigator in the style side pane, Headings section, offers a view of the document outline. With buttons in the Navigator toolbar, you can move chapters (or sub-chapters at any level) as a whole, with all the dependent sub-chapters, up or down. A chapter may also be promoted (becoming a sub-chapter) or demoted (reverse operation). And the Heading n style is changed accordingly.
If the move involves only discourse text, not full “chapters”, you can’t but proceed with copy/paste, of course.
Using an indexing feature is fine, if that’s what one likes. However, that requires a certain level of indirection, as well as remembering what exactly is in those indexed sections. Manipulating pages directly is more intuitive, even if you move exactly all pages in a chapter or section.